California Rep. Nancy Pelosi -- one of President Obama’s most ardent Capitol Hill supporters -- and other Democrats on Sunday defended the president’s handling of ObamaCare amid widespread criticism, particularly his pledge that Americans could keep their health insurance.
“Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The House minority leader’s comments follow a particularly bruising week for the president and his signature health care law that included the acknowledgement that only 106,000 Americans have so far signed up for ObamaCare, in large part because of the problem-plagued healthcare.gov website.
The report was followed by the president on Thursday qualifying his promise before he signed ObamaCare into law in 2010 that Americans could keep their existing health plans.
“There is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate,” he said during a press conference in which he proposed a one-year extension on existing health plans that failed to garner overwhelming support.
Pelosi, the former House speaker, also dismissed questions about fellow Democrats up for reelections in 2014 having to defend ObamaCare to voters back home.
“I don't think you can tell what will happen next year,” she told NBC, adding Democrats nevertheless won’t run from the issue.
Pelosi suggested Republicans will have to answer for their part in the partial government shutdown that she says hurt the economy.
She also downplayed 39 House Democrats voting Friday on a bill to allow insurance companies to continue offering plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare, saying a similar number of them voted on legislation to delay the law’s employer mandate.
New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said later in the show that ObamaCare is rife with problems, even by the president’s own admission, regardless of what Pelosi might say.
“No matter how Speaker Pelosi tries to spin this, [ObamaCare] is a mess,” she said.
South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn told CNN's "State of the Union" that most party members who voted in support of the House Republican bill Friday did so to "insulate themselves against sound bites."
Many of them are in competitive races next year and don’t want GOP challengers to have campaign ads portraying them as unwilling to fix the ObamaCare problem, Clyburn appeared to suggest.
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told ABC’s “This Week” that Obama can regain the public’s trust.
“Of course he can,” she said.
Gillibrand also said she didn’t feel misled by the president but allowed, “He should have just been more specific.”